According to traditional Indian knowledge, the benefits of shilajit, when taken internally, are numerous. Shilajit benefits include the following. Shilajit exerts action as a rejuvenative and energizing tonic, laxative, expectorant, immunomodulator and diuretic. It is antibilious and lithotriptic (disintegrates urinary stones). It is used to enhance fertility and sexual function. It is also known traditionally as a conqueror of a set of 20 different urinary disorders known as ‘Prameha’. This includes modern day diabetes. Externally it acts as an antiseptic, analgesic, deobstruent (removes obstructions in the body by aiding the opening of ducts) and germicide.
Shilajit is mentioned under the rasayana category in the Charaka Samhita, the oldest text of the Ayurvedic system of medicine. Charaka stated that shilajit can be used in several diseases by altering the anupana (vehicle) and adjuvant in combination with several medications. Sushruta has described shilajit in madhumeha chikitsa (diabetes mellitus). In his text, purified shilajit is advocated in madhumeha along with the decoction of Shorea robusta group of plants.
Shilajit is given along with milk to control diabetes. To treat fractures shilajit is prescribed along with Commiphora wightii (guggulu). It is believed that it promotes the formation of callus.1
For how to take Shilajit, how to check its purity, where it’s found and more, read this post all about Shilajit.
Shilajit is considered the best therapeutic and Rasayan agent. It makes the body strong, disease-free and grants longevity to the human body. Shilajit among all the different herbs and herbo-mineral preparations, has unique properties. It exhibits beneficial properties of all minerals, metals and gems taken together, as described in the Ayurvedic materia medica, with its anti-aging and salvation properties.
Shilajit is an important ingredient in various herbal preparations, as mentioned in various classical Ayurvedic texts. It is indicated in various heath conditions. Shilajit benefits and herbal supplement uses are as follows.
Loss of voice due to overuse of voice box
Cough associated with emaciation
Prameha group of urinary disorders which includes diabetes mellitus.
Loss of appetite
Various skin diseases
Serious conditions of urinary bladder dysfunction
All types of disease caused by Vata aggravation
Enlargement of spleen and liver
Piles and fistula
Various diseases of teeth, tongue and palate
NOTE: To manage these disease conditions the Shilajit is used with other herbs and gives a synergistic effect. It might not give the same effect if taken alone or without appropriate vehicle as suggested by a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
Some of the benefits of Shilajit have been validated in research studies.
Shilajit works as a stress reducer. An herbal formulation of Withania somnifera, Ocimum sanctum, Asparagus racemosus, Tribulus terristris and shilajit, were tested to attenuate the effects of stress. All of these substances are classified in Ayurveda as rasayanas, which means they are reputed to promote physical and mental health, improve defense mechanisms of the body and enhance longevity. The results were compared with that of Ginseng and this herbal mixture came out a clear winner.2
In a study of the modulation of Hypothalamus Pitutiary axis and preservation of mitochondrial function and integrity shilajit was shown to mitigate the effects of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).3
A study showed some of Shilajit’s key mechanisms of action to light as an energy booster.4 Shilajit contains two primary components, fulvic acid and DBPs (dibenzo-a-pyrones). Fulvic acid independently stimulates mitochondrial energy metabolism, protects mitochondrial membranes from oxidative damage, and helps channel electron-rich DBPs into the mitochondria to support the electron transfer chain. Fulvic acid works as an electron “shuttle,” augmenting Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to speed electron flow within mitochondria. CoQ10 is a coenzyme, a substance similar to a vitamin. It is found in every cell of the body. Your body makes CoQ10, and your cells use it to produce energy that your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. It also functions as an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules.
The DBPs in shilajit serve as electron “reservoirs” replenishing electrons lost by CoQ10 when it donates them to free radicals (thereby neutralizing them). Thus it works synergistically with CoQ10 to produce energy without letting ATP ( the energy packets) get depleted.
A preliminary clinical study was conducted to determine the effect of shilajit on anti-aging. The study contained both a shilajit supplement and exercise training on human skeletal muscle adaptation. A group of healthy overweight/Class I obese human subjects were studied over a 12 week period. Results showed Shilajit has a significant role in collagen and related extracellular matrix protein gene expression, thus suggesting its role in the anti-aging process.5
In a study on diabetic rats, Shilajit showed marked improvement in lowering blood glucose and improving lipid profile.6
Recent investigations point to an interesting medical application of Shilajit toward the control of cognitive disorders associated with aging, and cognitive stimulation.7
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder involving extracellular plaques (amyloid-β) and intracellular tangles of tau protein. Recently, tangle formation has been identified as a major event involved in the neurodegenerative process, due to the conversion of either soluble peptides or oligomers into insoluble filaments. At present, the current therapeutic strategies are aimed at natural phyto-complexes and polyphenolic compounds able to either inhibit the formation of tau filaments or disaggregate them. Fulvic acid, the main active principle in Shilajit blocks tau self-aggregation, opening an avenue toward the study of Alzheimer’s therapy.8
Shilajit was found to possess anti-ulcerogenic effects by its ability to decrease gastric acid secretion and peptic output. It was also found to be effective in restrain stress models. The adrenocortical response to stress appears to be a common mechanism for the anti-stress, adaptogenic activity.9,10
Shilajit was found to be a strong regulator of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant activity. These findings were found consistent with the benefits of shilajit as an Ayurvedic rasayan (rejuvenator) against oxidative stress and geriatric complaints.11
Aqueous suspension of an authentic sample of shilajit was found to have significant analgesic activity in albino rats. Observed analgesic activity of shilajit probably justifies its use in different painful conditions as described in Ayurveda.12,13
In this study the effect of shilajit was investigated on the body weight of young rats for a period of one month. The body weight of the rats was found to be significantly greater in the rats taking shilajit compared with a control group. Researchers suggest a better utilization of food as a cause of the weight gain.14
Shilajit modulates neurochemicals which are responsible for its anti anxiety15 and memory enhancing action.16
Processed Shilajit (SJP) augments the levels of Dopamine (DA) and Norepinephrine (NE) and their metabolism in various regions of the brain including the striatum. Furthermore, the treatment decreases serotonin (5HT) and its metabolism in the frontal cortex. These neurochemical changes substantiate the observed behavioral effects of shilajit in animal models, such as anxiolytic activity and nootropic activity. These actions are attributable to decreased 5HT levels. In a battery of tests, shilajit has been found to augment learning acquisition as well as short and long-term memory retention in rats.17, 18
Purified Shilajit, an Ayurvedic rasayana, was evaluated in healthy volunteers between 45 and 55 years of age for its effect on male androgenic hormone viz. testosterone in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study at a dose of 250 mg twice a day.
Treatment with Shilajit for 90 consecutive days revealed that it has significantly (P < 0.05) increased total testosterone, free testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS) compared with the placebo. Gonadotropic hormone (LH and FSH) levels were well maintained.19
Shilajit for Spermatogenesis
The safety and spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit (PS) were evaluated in oligospermic patients. Initially, 60 infertile male patients were assessed and those having total sperm counts below 20 million ml were considered oligospermic and enrolled in the study. Malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker for oxidative stress, content of semen and biochemical parameters for safety were also evaluated. A significant decrease of semen MDA content (-18.7%) was observed. Moreover, serum testosterone (+23.5%; P < 0.001) and FSH (+9.4%; P < 0.05) levels significantly increased. HPLC chromatogram revealed inclusion of PS constituents in semen. Unaltered hepatic and renal profiles of patients indicated that PS was safe at the given dose. The present findings provide further evidence of the spermatogenic nature of Shilajit, as attributed in Ayurvedic medicine, particularly when administered as PS. Clinical evaluation of spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit in oligospermia.20
This study examined the possibility of using Shilajit as a fertility agent. The effects of Shilajit on spermatogenesis and ovogenesis were studied using male and female rats. Shilajit was administered orally to 7-week old rats over a 6 week period. In the male rats, the number of sperms in the testes and epididymides was significant higher than in the control. A histological examination revealed an apparent increase in the number of seminiferous tubular cell layers in the testes of the treated rats. However, there were no significant differences in the weights of heart, spleen, liver, kidney, brain, testes and epididymides. In the female rats, the effect of Shilajit was estimated by the ovulation inducing activity. Over a 5-day, ovulation was induced in seven out of nine rats in the Shilajit administration group and in three out of nine rats in the control. It was estimated that Shilajit had both a spermatogenic and ovogenic effect in mature rats.21
1 Thiyagarajan and Sunderrajan, 1992; Agarwal et al., 2007
2 Bhattacharya, S. K., A. Bhattacharya, and A. Chakrabarti. “Adaptogenic Activity of Siotone, a Polyherbal Formulation of Ayurvedic Rasayanas.” Indian Journal of Experimental Biology.U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2000. Web. 10 May 2017.
3 Surapaneni DK, Adapa SR, Preeti K, Teja GR, Veeraragavan M, Krishnamurthy S. Shilajit attenuates behavioral symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome by modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and mitochondrial bioenergetics in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012;143(1):91-9.
4 Bhattacharyya S, Pal D, Banerjee D, et al. Shilajit dibenzo—pyrones: Mitochondria targeted antioxidants. Pharmacology online. 2009; 2:690-8.
5 Roy, S. Human Skeletal Muscle Extracellular Matrix Fortification in Response to Oral Supplementation with PrimaVie® Shilajit. Department of Surgery, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA (Pending Publication).
6 Selvam R, Anuradha C. Effect of oral methionine on blood lipid peroxidation and antioxidants in alloxaninduced diabetic rats. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 1990;1(12):653-658. doi:10.1016/0955-2863(90)90027-i.
7 Carrasco-Gallardo C, Guzmán L, Maccioni RB. Shilajit: A Natural Phytocomplex with Potential Procognitive Activity. International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2012;2012:674142. doi:10.1155/2012/674142.
8 Fulvic acid inhibits aggregation and promotes disassembly of tau fibrils associated with Alzheimer’s disease. J AlzheimersDis. 2011;27(1):143-53. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2011- 110623.
9 Acharya SB, Frotan MH, Goel RK, Tripathi SK, Das PK. Pharmacological actions of Shilajit. Indian J Exp Biol. 1988 Oct; 26(10): 775-7. 7.
10 Goel RK, Banerjee RS, Acharya SB. Antiulcerogenic and antiinflammatory studies with shilajit. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 1990 Apr; 29(1): 95-103.
11 Bhattacharya, Sen AP and Ghosal S (1995). Effects of Shilajit on biogenic free radicals. Phytotherapy Res. Vol 9, 56-59.
12 Acharya SB, Frotan MH, Goel RK, Tripathi SK, Das PK. Pharmacological actions of Shilajit. Indian J Exp Biol. 1988 Oct; 26(10): 775-7.
13 Goel RK, Banerjee RS, Acharya SB. Antiulcerogenic and antiinflammatory studies with shilajit. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 1990 Apr; 29(1): 95-103
14 Gupta SS, Seth CB, Mathur VS. Effect of Gurmar and shilajit on body weight of young rats. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1966 Apr; 9(2): 87-92.
15 Bhattacharya SK, Sen AP (1992) Effect of Shilajit on rat brain monamines. Phytotherapy Res. Vol 6, 163-164.
16 Jaiswal, A.K and S.K Bhattacharya. 1992 . Effects of shilajit on memory, anxiety and bran monoamines in rats. Indian J. Pharmacol, 24 (1), 12-17. 19. Schliebs R, Liebmann A, Bhattacharya SK, Kuram A, Ghosal S and Bigl V (1997).
17 Systemic administration of defined extracts from Withania somnifera (Indian Ginseng) and Shilajit defferntially affects cholinergic but not glutamatergic and gabeargic markers in rat brain. Neurochem Int 30 (2), 181-190.
18 Ghosal, S., J. Lal, A.K Jaiswal and S.K Bhattacharya. 1993. Shilajit. XII Effects of shilajit and its active constituents on learning and memory in rats. Phytother. Res, 7 (1), 29-34.
19 Clinical evaluation of purified Shilajit on testosterone levels in healthy volunteers Authors S. Pandit,, S. Biswas,, U. Jana, R. K. De,S. C. Mukhopadhyay, T. K. Biswa
20 Biswas TK 1 , Pandit S, Mondal S, Biswas SK, Jana U, Ghosh T, Tripathi PC, Debnath PK, Auddy RG, Auddy B
21 J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Oct 11;107(3):349-53. Epub 2006 Apr 18. The spermatogenic and ovogenic effects of chronically administered Shilajit to rats. Park JS 1 , Kim GY, Han K.
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